Most publishing houses only take on one or two new clients a year, if that, and quite a few like to stick with tried and tested authors who's 3rd or 4th novel is more of a sure thing, then try out the unknown for a possible fail and who can blame them! So much money is put into publishing a book and if it falls flat the failure can be quite costly.
But then if the publishers don't take on any new clients, that leaves many new inspiring writers out in the cold, and the only other route apart from leaving your work sat getting dusty on a shelf is to self publish. Which is what I did, I had my years of rejections, and I could have papered the walls with them all if I'd kept them. Yes it was discouraging, every time the postman came, or a new email popped into my inbox, I'd get a hollowness form in my stomach as I prepared myself for the worst.
It was soul destroying, for a long while I wondered why I bothered writing, clearly I was no good, and I was being sent all the proof I needed as to that fact. But then one day I realised, as the umpteenth letter fell through my door, that maybe they weren't reading what I sent at all. Back in the day (makes me sound ancient I know), I used to send out to potential publishers a little pack of work which included: A letter outlining my book genre, length, that it's content matched with the style of novel they published ect, A synopsis, Story outline and the first three chapters of the book, or a sample chapter depending on the company's requirements.
So I'd send these out, with return envelopes included of course. I was paying enough in postage, I didn't want to pay out even more in extra printing costs too. So this little package would go whizzing off to a publishing house, and I'd wait expectantly for a reply. Always a bad sign when the envelope came back the same size, because it meant they were returning my work in my pre-paid envelope. I longed for the day a single letter shot back saying "We loved it, we'll publish!" But alas no!
So like any other morning I opened my rejection letter, the only difference now was that instead of sending my little pack, I'd recently been just sending a letter, inquiring as to if this publishing house was talking on new clients and a brief outline about what my book was about, nothing more (the postage costs were starting to drain my funds!) . The rejection I received was from one of these companies, and scanning my eyes over the words I realised, that hadn't read what I'd sent, none of them had. This one hadn't even bothered to read this half page letter I'd sent, because they were praising my work, that they loved the premise and the style, but unfortunately it wasn't for them as it didn't quite fit with the genres they were currently representing! I hadn't sent them any work! Not one page, so this was all a complete lie.
A little time after this I looked into this weird response I'd received and it turned out a housewife in America had been having the same problem, so in frustration one day she sat down at her computer, and typed out the instruction manual for her washing machine to look like the first few chapters of a book, double spaced it and added paragraphs too. Then duly sent this off to a few publishing house in the states. The responses she received back were similar to mine, standard rejections, with or without manuscript praise but it was a no! So either these publishers weren't reading what was coming to their door or they really did like the premise of:
"In a world which needs a hero, a hero who can banish stains from our lives and still be energy efficient, one small washing machine stands up! He may not be big, he may only be guaranteed for two years breakdown cover, but he will get all your laundry jobs done!" - Best seller? Think not!
After I read about this, apart from laughing, and imagining a bored secretary sat removing manuscripts from one envelop, slotting them into the pre-paid ones and adding a bog standard letter before putting them on the reject pile, I realised something. If I ever wanted to get published, an utter miracle was gonna have to happen for someone to pick my little minnow of a story out of the large ocean of manuscripts swimming around, so with just a need to get it out there, if no more for my own sanity, I self-published.
I've gotta say it felt a bit defeatist self-publishing it at first, but the process wasn't too stressful and yes it's not perfect, the grammars probably a bit off in places, and being dyslexic it'll definitely have the odd spelling mistake - but it's out there, and that's all that counts to me.
If I had it hidden away waiting for some big break to happen it never would! Will it happen now I've self-published, probably not but still you never know, at least it's out there for the world to see if they so wish. And the books are more a labour of love, I had a story to tell, and with this series I'm telling it, yes some may hate it, but others may love it - and in the end that's all that counts to me.
So if you're an aspiring author, who's had nothing but rejection after rejection, then maybe self-publishing is a route for you, because what's the use of keeping a great story to yourself when you could be sharing it with the whole world.
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